Smart Start Program

The Smart Start Program at Washington State University is designed to serve First Generation Freshman. We aim for you to be an informed, confident, motivated, and engaged student. Through Smart Start we are prepared to work with you personally and purposely. If you’re a visiting student, parent, educator, or student affairs colleague and you’d like to visit our Smart Start Center located on the 4th floor of the Compton Union Building, please feel free to contact us for a personal orientation at (509) 335-6931.


(SSP) uses a high-touch retention model that delivers support for first-year (freshman) students, through classroom instruction, one-to-one personal counseling, and academic advising. Participating students have daily access to an academic work center, which has computers, free printing, and a comprehensive tutorial program. Students, who stay active in the Smart Start program for one full academic year, are eligible for partial scholarship, special activities, and priority registration for classes. All participants work with our Retention team to develop personal Academic Success Plans, as well as financial aid and campus resource guidance.

Smart Start Core Values, Expectations 

  1. Enrollment in UNIV 295 for Fall semester; UNIV 101 for Spring semester

  2. Complete (2) counselor conferences with a SSP counselor each semester.

  3. Complete (1) academic advising session with a SSP counselor each semester.

  4. Completion of all 12 Financial Literacy (SALT) modules by February 15th, 2017.

  5. Complete all SSP progress reports in a timely fashion (weeks 3-6-9-12)

  6. Maintain a personal SSP Resource binder for the duration of the academic year.

  7. Perfect attendance at all SSP events (Retreat, Orientation, Friday Focus, Gatherings, Conexion Pre-func)

  8. Purchase all required text books by the 10th day of classes for each semester.

  9. Enrollment in “Study Buddy” program for Fall semester; (optional for spring unless academically deficient)

  10. Complete FAFSA financial aid application by November 1st, 2017.

  11. Complete WSU general scholarship application by November 1st, 2017.


  1. Higher average GPA.
  2. Students increase their campus engagement.
  3. Priority registration for Spring semester.
  4. You can earn up to $1,200 scholarship funds during your freshman year.